“So . . . what can we do? How can we help them understand without preaching at them?”
“Well . . . what if we write a book together and explain it in clear language, without any put downs?”
And so we did.
My son and I had this conversation in 2019, a few months before the world was inundated with COVID restrictions, immunizations, and a plethora of masks. We were discussing how millennials view the Bible and how they have been turned away from the faith walk by the behavior of so-called Christians.
We wondered how to share with them the beauty and the peace available through God’s love. How could we be the voice that cared enough to meet them at their deepest need?
My son is a millennial with a high-quality gift of mercy. This gift is often accompanied by a need for justice, especially when harm has occurred to any human being. He feels deeply, empathically, when someone is hurt — particularly children and the vulnerable.
So he has a heart for his generation and for those to come. I have a heart for my son and for anyone who does not understand how deeply God loves them.
After our conversation, I proceeded to make a Table of Contents of the basics of belief. My son added a few, and together — we came up with the tagline: ‘What It Means to Believe.’ We knew the title would reveal itself as we wrote the book.
A situation known to most authors. Just begin writing and the title will come.
My task was to write the first drafts of each chapter, then pass them on to my son for edits and revisions. As an editor, I know every writer needs another set of eyes on their manuscript. But I was a bit surprised at the chunks my son red-lined and his comments, “This sounds like a Baby Boomer. Rewrite.”
In the process, I learned a great deal about the millennial mindset and the patience of my son. I also learned that as ‘progressive’ as I might be, some of my earlier legalistic teachings still replay their tapes.
The questions I continued to ask myself was, “How would Jesus explain this topic? What was the intent of Jesus when he spoke about this subject? What does Jesus want the millennials to know about faith?”
Eventually, we completed our first draft, then sent it off to my spiritual advisor. He replied with a few suggestions and questions, and we started the second draft. Then the third and fourth.
Writers know this: the best writing is rewriting.
We planned to use Kindle Direct Publishing for our printing service, so it was easy to upload the final copy. My idea of a cover was different from my son’s, so I relented and let the millennial choose a darker, more abstract cover with a futuristic font. And from that search came our title, Uploading Faith.
With my experience in publishing and copywriting, I wrote the back blurb. Again, the resident millennial edited and revised until we were both satisfied with this outcome:
‘Have you wondered what faith is all about and wish someone would explain it with easy-to-understand language? Are you confused about the concept of the Trinity? Do you question a God who allows bad things to happen?
‘UPLOADING FAITH: What It Means to Believe presents brief descriptions of faith facts such as God, Church, and Prayer. But it also engages in discussions about deeper topics such as: When Life Turns Sour and why some Christians aren’t genuine. It encourages your questions and answers you from the realistic viewpoint that living a life of faith is indeed possible.
‘Begin the adventure of Uploading Faith. Then discover how much God cares about you and invites you to accept his forever love.’
Out went the book into cyberspace with a few author copies for each of us to keep in our cars for quick giveaways or to stack on a table at a book signing.
Every author hopes for a viral surge of their newest book. We share our words for a reason — to impact the world. To gift our readers with new ways to think and the offering of a mind shift, especially when it comes to faith topics.
So we hoped for massive sales, but they did not come. Instead, a small trickle. A now and then sale. Some in the USA. Some internationally.
When I checked reports and recorded sales for tax purposes, I gave my son his share of the profits. Then prayed for those who bought the book. Those who dared to engage with us about their faith questions. Those who wanted to know more about the possibility of divine love.
Now, four years after publication, the book is still selling. Here and there. Now and then. But as I tell my son, “Every person, even one at a time, who reads our book has the opportunity to believe. It’s often one heart at a time.”
What a privilege it was to write this book with my son! He is a gifted wordsmith in his own right, and I hope he will someday pen his own story.
But for now, we have completed this task and offered our words to the world. Without faith, it is impossible to find hope. Without God’s love surrounding us in this chaotic world, it is impossible to live with any kind of peace.
Both my son and I pray hope and peace for the millennials and for the generations to come.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Order your copies and give them to the millennials in your life. Available on Amazon: UPLOADING FAITH: What It Means to Believe.